It’s a buyer’s market and a consumer-first, and consumer-centric retail world. If you didn’t know these tidbits, then it’s time to relook at your marketing plan and strategy.
Where does your customer experience have the chance to branch off and where do they get stuck at a dead end? Some steps on the path offer confidence, while others may feel like scary steps to take. Keep customers from turning around and bouncing. For those customers that like to jump ahead of an ironed-out process, are some leaps on the path helpful or harmful? This blog offers ideas to aid you in marketing path development. Let’s put the “path” in the hotseat.
First, if you don’t know that 90% or more of your traffic will first study your company online, then read that again. Online presence is the first blush and handshake with your offerings and value equation as a builder. Here is checklist of things to test for online brand health. Your brand is more than your logo – it’s your experience.
What emotion does your brand offer at first sight?
Emotional lifestyle, product first, location first or fire sale (yes, watch this in a season of a change)! Understand the why behind your first visual experience and think through how long you want folks or expect folks to stay on the home page. Many times, it’s like walking into a grocery store—you know why you are there, and you march ahead. So, put value in the navigation equation for your experience knowing people have an idea of why they searched you up!
What navigation options do you offer?
Strategically built navigation is intuitive to make the user initiate fewer “clicks” to discover what they really want to see. Where you build, your average price point, and product collections are desired discovery checkpoints and in that very specific order. Customers buy first for location, second for price and third for your product. Location and price win first. How does that formula stand up on your website and in your search strategy? Take a closer look!
How does your product show up?
Is it dressed for the customer or is it dressed for a discounted and undervalued marketing spend? The customer will feel it either way you go. So, are you dressed to impress? Are your renderings high-quality, do you sell the location, amenities, and product proximity in a visual and appealing way? Are your visuals intertwined with high-quality lifestyles and actual photography? Virtual and physical imagery play well together especially when both are dressed to impress with quality service providers. Sell it before they see it in person!
What does playtime look like?
Can a customer play with IFP’s (interactive floorplans), virtual model tours, interactive virtual tours with package selections and on/off furniture options, design tools to see and test different design packages? Can customers save preferences or can customers tie their experience to reservation and verification processes for buying? How much they can play and explore matters. Time on site and brand affinity starts here. Time on site indicates buyer interest and should be converted to an appointment (see more on that opportunity in the path below).
What are people saying?
Are you offering reviews to your experience? Not just testimonials. Everyone knows those are cherry picked. A customer will seek out what the general public and previous buyers are saying and take that with more merit than your best sales person can ever offer. So, know what they are saying, manage it, and serve it up.
How do you show up on Glassdoor and other team member review sites?
Team reviews matter and builders forget that! It’s part of reputation management. A brand is what customers say it is and a brand is also what your people say it is. Manage both. Reputation and social media voices are part of the path!
Who is answering the front door?
This question is both for your website and sales office. Properly manning the path to touring (online and in person counts). If your path ends with someone clicking on “email our sales associate”, you are failing on the path. An OSC should be prompting a conversation and your site should also offer opportunities for self-service to schedule an appointment through a calendar app, tour a home through a self-serve app, or offer an option for “click to call” that dials over to a well-manned phone number (hopefully your OSC). Don’t let email jail or voicemail voids be your end game. Incorporate steps that keep that buyer moving toward an appointment or an online reservation and use applications that track activity. We have more options today than ever! Make sure your sales team is tech-savvy on all the tools and how to use the tools on your site. If you have an integrated CRM that tracks activity through tools like Novi Home’s application, Ownly’s Verify & Build and Price apps, or other customer journey applications—use them or get them and make sure Sales understand their part in the technology path!
How are your OSC’s tool belts filled?
The more you can offer the opportunity to help your OSC’s co-browse and co-educate alongside your website and your sales teams, the better. This includes animated story-telling videos, those IFP’s, great renderings, high-quality community maps and site maps for details about the areas of town. Make your sales team’s job easier and your future customers more satisfied in data gathering and transparent information.
Avoid smoke and mirrors.
If you say you can buy now, make sure the buyer knows what that means…and do it. If you show a lot is available, make sure the inventory status is accurate, make sure pricing is on point, and make sure your other connecting integrations like chat, self-touring and appointment setting methods are being received, used and surveyed. These are keys to the insights of your path from the comfy couch to 1) connection, 2) community touring, and 3) contract (THREE marketing C’s to moving the buyer).
Is your message consistent, loud, and clear?
This means how you talk and show up on social media, on the web, in search, in PPC ads, through partnership marketing (lenders, warranty, etc.) and anywhere else. What does your brand claim? This needs to be heard loud and clear.
There are many more integrations along the path and this list hopefully offers insights into the tools, the paths, and the opportunities to improve key areas of your marketing path. Put your efforts in the hot seat, you may be surprised where you can step up your game.